The other side of the great unknown

By Hunter S. Ford

Sara Evans is pretty as sunshine and Jay Barker is as goofy as a football bat.

The other night at a WJOX party I was privileged to meet the lovely Sara. Her husband Jay, former All-American, Christian Coalition, bright eyed and wholesome quarterback, showed up in an ORANGE plaid shirt with a grey vest and some funky embroidered blue jeans with cowboy boots. Nice.

Paul Finebaum, who was hanging with his brother-in-law Shane, asked “Where’s Jay’s ball cap?”

I asked Sara if she remembered Jay from his football days.

“Did you see him play in the Sugar Bowl?”

She paused for a second, thinking of something witty, I suppose, and said… “Uh…yeah, sure.”

Finebaum, deadpanned…pointing to Shane… “He watches it three times a day.”

Later F-Baum interviewed Sara for Fox 6 and asked her if she had a favorite Alabama quarterback.

“Brian Burgdorf,” she answered. Didn’t have to think about that one did she?

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I don’t know if Sara writes her own songs, but here are some lyrics from a song of hers called “The Great Unknown”

“Fire up the motor baby, I’m already packed.

I’ll ride shotgun, navigate, throw the cooler in the back. Let’s try to get us lost…Anywhere you want to go.

Come on show me the other side of the great unknown.”

Football season is upon us again. The greatest thing about it? …The unknown will soon be known. All the speculation and wishful thinking will be washed away with the tide of brutal reality. On “Sunday morning coming down,” we will no longer have to wonder how Alabama matched up against Clemson.

Here are a couple of opening games I’ll never forget.

Alabama vs. UCLA in 2000.

My brother and I ordered Full Moon barbecue, had a couple of ritual shots of Wild Turkey and settled in front of the tube as our highly ranked Tide seemed poised for a national championship run.

Freddie Milons returned a punt for a TD and the rout was on…NOT. UCLA beat Alabama in the Tide’s return to the Rose Bowl. The season went in the toilet. So much for high expectations.

Alabama vs. Southern Miss 1990.

Some buddies of mine and I were at Legion Filed for this one. Who is this “Favor” guy? “I think it’s pronounced Farve.” Our high school classmate Chris Anderson returns a kick for a TD but it’s called back by a penalty. Chris later fumbles a kick that Southern Miss recovers, setting up a go ahead score for the Eagles.

It was 100 degrees in the shade. After the game, sweating 86 proof bullets, we were all dazed. “Did we just LOSE to Southern Miss?”

Alabama vs. Georgia, Labor Day night 1985.

Alabama pushed Georgia around all night in a defensive game. Cornelius Bennett tackled everybody that came within ten yards of him. The Bulldogs blocked a punt late in the fourth and took the lead.

Mike Shula (yes, that Mike Shula) passed to Al Bell for a dramatic last second winning touchdown.

Alabama vs. Ohio State 1986 Kickoff Classic at the Meadowlands.

A young Derek Thomas almost blew the game for Alabama by committing several stupid pass interference penalties.

Quarterback Mike Shula (yes that Mike Shula) led the Tide to a 17-10 victory over the Buckeyes.

Alabama has not beaten a quality non-conference opponent in regular season play since the 1980s when the Tide played Penn State annually. The Clemson game is a great opportunity. The song I want to hear early and often Saturday night:
Yay! Alabama! Drown ‘em Tide!
Every man’s behind you, hit your stride!
Go teach the Bulldogs to behave
Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave.
If a man starts to weaken, that’s a shame.
Cause Bama’s pluck and grit has writ her name in Crimson Flame.
Fight on, fight on, fight on men.
Remember the Rose Bowl, we’ll….?????